A Summer of Learning: An Interview with Century West Engineering Interns
As summer draws to a close, so do the internships of three remarkable students at Century West Engineering. We had the chance to catch up with Sean Loughran, Hayden Snyder, and Teagan Tovsrud to reflect on their experiences, the challenges they faced, and their aspirations for the future.
A Warm Welcome
Sean kicked off the conversation by expressing his appreciation for the inclusive and engaging environment at Century West. He found that everyone at Century West was personally invested in making sure he had a good experience. “It just made me feel more part of the team in general. And that’s been a huge positive for me,” Sean shared.
This sentiment was echoed by Teagan and Hayden, who both found the connection with their colleagues valuable. “I’ve always had someone to go to no matter who it is in the office,” said Teagan. Hayden added that being comfortable asking questions and the encouraging environment made a significant difference.
When asked about mentors, all three interns highlighted different individuals who had made an impact on them. Teagan appreciated Austin Gernhart‘s encouragement saying, ”Even though he’s across the country, he constantly had work for me, and was always available when I asked questions.” (Austin is temporarily working in Connecticut and anticipating returning to Oregon later this year.) Sean mentioned Alec Fransen and Mark Hagedorn as people he interacted with most. “Alec, my direct supervisor. He’s been great in just all regards. And then I had a really good trip down to a site. We had the entire car ride there and back to talk about all sorts of things—civil engineering and life in general too. It was nice.” Hayden found Michael Berggren and Lauryn Ryan particularly helpful. “My mentor was Michael, and that was great. He just took the PE, so we had a lot of conversations about starting your career.”
Hayden shared a stressful moment when CAD crashed, erasing all the team’s comments and work. Thankfully, the team was supportive and helped her navigate the situation. “I was scared. But everyone was very kind, saying It’s fine. Here’s what we’re going do to fix it. It’s all good.” Sean discussed his nerves ahead of conducting a site inspection by himself for the first time and expressed gratitude for Kyle Logan‘s reassuring words. “I think Kyle noticed that I was probably nervous about doing that and he reiterated that it’s just another day on the job.”
Advice for Future Interns
All three interns had valuable advice for future interns. Sean emphasized the importance of being proactive and engaged. “You have to be engaged. You can’t come in expecting that every second of every day is going to be planned out for you. You need to be engaging yourself.” Hayden suggested being proactive about finding work before current tasks are completed. Teagan encouraged future interns to pursue their passions and ask questions, stating, “No question is a dumb question. You can always learn something. Then you can find out what you’re interested in specifically and then pursue that.”
Looking Back and Looking Forward
Reflecting on their internships, all three expressed interest in different aspects of the work they had done. Sean found himself unexpectedly interested in the Oregon Department of Transportation Bend North Corridor project while Teagan shifted her interest from transportation to utilities work, noting “With municipal, there’s always a puzzle to solve with what’s existing and what we’re putting in or what we’re fixing”. Hayden found value in understanding the day-to-day aspects of the job and the balance between office and onsite work. “For me, I still have two more years left of school. I’m further away from knowing what I want to do. But I’m realizing that I really want something that allows me to be in the office and out onsite. I now understand that that’s not every job, but it’s something that I definitely want.”
When asked if they’d consider returning to Century West for a full-time position, all three responded with a resounding “YES!”
A Fun Summer
Despite the hard work, there was also time for fun. Teagan and Hayden had fun visiting Portland International Airport with Brant Foster. Teagan relayed, “Although I’m not interested in pursuing aviation engineering, we looked at the runway pavement with Brant. It was just really fun to be out there.” “Yeah, that was fun.” Hayden replied, adding, “The person who was escorting us gave us a full tour of the area. We went and saw the cargo planes and this really fancy little containment area that dampens the sound so that the planes can like do their engine run-up thing.” Outside of work, Sean enjoyed floating the river, Hayden attended Portland Pride, and Teagan, who got married over summer (congrats!), enjoyed backpacking and rock climbing.
While the internship may have ended, the lessons learned, connections made, and experiences gained will undoubtedly serve Sean, Hayden, and Teagan well in their future endeavors. Century West is proud to have had them as part of the team and looks forward to seeing what they will accomplish in the years to come. We hope to see them back at Century West in a full-time capacity someday!